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Tuesday, 25 September 2012, 18:15 — 20:15, Room S3


This session aimed to discuss the concepts of multilateralism and plurilateralism and to assess the potential impact of plurilateral agreements within the WTO multilateral trading system. Plurilateral agreements can be concluded by three or more WTO members and cover trade issues labelled WTO plus, extra or minus. They can be adopted both within and outside the WTO framework. They can be "preferential" agreements or agreements based on the most-favoured-nation (MFN) principles. Future plurilateral trade agreements negotiated within the WTO could bring more transparency, and third parties' rights would be better protected under the WTO dispute settlement procedure.

If a plurilateral agreement is adopted outside the WTO framework, other WTO members need not be included, and negotiations would not include other WTO members not party to the agreement. It would then lead to the creation of a "soft law", since a plurilateral agreement outside the WTO would not have the same legal and political weight and could not aspire to an "international standard". A plurilateral trade agreement within the WTO that extends MFN benefits to non-treaty WTO members would avoid trade distortions. Conversely, if a WTO-based plurilateral trade agreement is kept as a preferential agreement (non-MFN), it would avoid free-riding by non-members and provide an incentive for others to join.


IMF Conditionalities for the Least Developed Countries

Raymond Saner & Ricardo Guilherme, G-24 Policy Brief Nr. 19; 1st March 2014 IMF Conditionalities for the Least Developed Countries.

This policy brief argues that, all too often, the Fund’s use of “conditionalities” for lending has stepped beyond its core legal mandate, particularly causing harm to the least developed countries’ economic development, for example by dictating their trade policies.

The WTO, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Raymond Saner (2024) “The WTO, Climate Change and Sustainable Development” (accepted for publication to be published as IJSD 2024 V27 N3)

The author contributes to the trade & environment debate that so far excluded theoretical concepts such as the principle of mutual supportiveness of international agreements, the insights of public goods theory, and a positive trade & environment agenda.

Based on the inclusion of these new concepts, an enlarged frame of trade, environment, and development is proposed which forms the basis for a reinterpretation of standard WTO articles making a more inclusive approach possible to stop climate change. For instance, the Local Content Requirement is discussed as a means to support citizens of developing countries to generate their renewable energy sources combined with a reinterpretation of Intellectual Property Rights to make the transfer of technology possible of renewable energy in the less developed parts of the world.

(Strategies and Importance of International Organisations) in the context of the teaching programme on “Globalisation Talks

20220521 Strategies and Importance

Raymond Saner, Titular Professor, University of Basel, WWZ, presentation on 5th November 2021 on “Strategien und Bedeutung Internationaler Organisationen” (Strategies and Importance of International Organisations) in the context of the teaching programme on “Globalisation Talks” of Professor Rold Weder, Dean, Economic Sciences Center (WWZ), Basel